Balancing travel I want to do versus the travel I have to do is the current bane of my bank balance. I love to wrap responsibility with an opportunistic visit to somewhere new: weddings with weekend staycations, friends visiting from abroad with a quick hop over to Europe, work obligations with a restaurant booking I’d never otherwise make. But honestly, right now, things are a tiny bit lean.
2019 has seen me move house, take a pay cut to work for a company I adore, and save for our wedding. Three super exciting, wouldn’t-change-it-for-anything life updates, but ones that have meant some pretty keen budgeting. I live in London so live in the bubble of trains that come every 3 minutes, buses that run throughout the night, and taxis on demand, so I don’t have a car and well, that’s proving to be a bit of a problem.
You see, wedding planning turns out to involve trips out of London to visit our venue, meet with suppliers, and even do ridiculous things that I never considered like travel to a bloody Hobbycraft to get DIY decoration supplies, and those things are best to do with an enthusiastic parent in tow. So, my travel adventures this year have been made up of at least 75% back and forth to my hometown of Milton Keynes and the city nearest to my wedding venue.
Frankly, we’ve rinsed all introductory offers to hire car companies and even our Two Together railcard doesn’t help make a dent in the train tickets we’ve had to buy. It was with a little bit of trepidation that we switched tactics and took a punt on taking a National Express coach instead. It was the price that had me swayed; £11 return to Milton Keynes wasn’t anything to be sniffed at mid-way through the month.
Instead of shoving through crowds at Euston station, we got a bus to Golders Green right from home and had to interact with the absolute bare minimum of people. Unlike being packed on like sardines on the train, the coach ensures you have a seat (you can book a specific seat on certain routes) so I could prep a Netflix download and a book to go between and know that I’d actually be able to watch and/or read without fear of falling over or getting in someone’s way.
We settled in near the back (to avoid my Truman Show-esque plague of people always kicking the back of my seat), and once we hit the North Circular it was plain sailing…or, driving. I actively try and avoid train travel as it becomes increasingly eye-wateringly expensive with every year but it always seems to be the quickest option. With a shorter and more pleasant door-to-door time frame, WiFi that actually works throughout the journey, and so much more luggage space (although about as much leg room as trains), you can consider me a total convert.
It might not be last-minute European weekends away or planning big long haul trips, but I’m going in to a whole new sort of life adventure and thank goodness for finding a way to do it more affordably.